Mom Shouldn't Be Jailed for Drunk Driver Killing Her Child

crosswalkRaquel Nelson is heading to jail for doing what millions of moms have done in the history of public roadways. She was walking across the street with her kids. And when a driver who was blind in one eye and had consumed both alcohol and prescription pain medicine came barrelling down the street, she was hit by the car along with her son and youngest daughter.

So why is she going to jail? Because her 4-year-old son died as a result of his injuries. And when police examined the scene, they discovered Nelson wasn't in the crosswalk with her kids. She was just walking across the road.


They say she was breaking the law just like the driver (who has been convicted as well), and she's been convicted of homicide by vehicle in the second degree, crossing roadway elsewhere than at crosswalk and reckless conduct. They're blaming her for her son's death. I don't know that I can. Because I know I've done what she was doing dozens of times.

You know the drill. Your kids are getting antsy. They can only walk so far on short legs. And the barbershop/candy store/dry cleaner is JUST across the street from where you're parked . . . but the crosswalk is waaaaaay up the block.

Oh, honey, I have sooooo been there. We live in a small town, and the local town center has just one cross walk for a Main Street that's a good half mile long. Parking is limited, so the spots closest to the crosswalk are rarely available. And there's just no way my now-6-year-old could manage the hike halfway across town when the Chinese restaurant is directly in front of us. And come to think of it, that's one of the rare places in my neck of the woods that has a delineated spot for crossing the road. My hometown, a mere 15-minute drive from my house, where we often shop, pick up pizza, hit the library, has no such place.

You have to use good old common sense and look both ways before you cross the street, and there's no indication Raquel Nelson DIDN'T do that. The only thing she didn't do was cross at a crosswalk. But the fact is, even if you do use a crosswalk, there is nothing to protect you from a bad driver, from a guy who is blind in one eye and hopped up on prescription painkillers and booze.

She still could be in this boat, grieving the loss of her little boy, even if she HAD walked to the crosswalk before crossing the street. The fact that she didn't isn't why this boy died. It's the driver.

I'm having a hard time seeing how Raquel Nelson was a bad mom here. How about you?


Image via silveryyn/Flickr

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